Battle Of The Beach Chairs (A photograph and the story behind it)!!
We’re on Brighton Beach, England in the summer of 1964 and it’s bank holiday weekend. Two conflicting youth subcultures, Mods and Rockers have descended upon the seaside resort with their mopeds and motorbikes for some ocean air but it’s only a matter of time before the simmering rivalry between the two groups turns into an all out war.
It allegedly all kicked off when a Mod threw a pebble at the group of rockers gathered on the beach and within seconds, an uncontrollable brawl had erupted. Gangs of mods and rockers began openly fighting, using deck chairs as weapons, as iconically captured in these photographs.
The fighting lasted two days, moving along the coast to Hastings and back; earning it the “Second Battle of Hastings” tag. In the end, the police had to charge on to the beach and make hundreds of arrests. The bank holiday had begun with tourists and families flocking to the coast but ended with them ‘fleeing for their lives’ as Mods and Rockers turned the beach into a battlefield.
Newspapers the confrontation as being of “disastrous proportions”, and labelled mods and rockers as “internal enemies” in the UK who would “bring about disintegration of a nation’s character” and “surge and flame like a forest fire”.
It’s alleged that the media used faked interviews with supposed rockers such called “Mick the Wild One”, to get mileage from incidents that were unrelated to mod-rocker violence. When they ran out of real brawls to report, newspapers would publish deceptive headlines with ”violence” in the title, even if the article reported that there was no violence at all. The media also regularly pointed to these two youth cultures on the topics of teen pregnancy and drugs.
Which one are you?